The narrator of the story gives the audience understanding of what is like to be Sonny, and how they interact with each other and the environment. The title of the story can be considered misleading because although the name of the reading is “Sonny” we are seeing Sonny and Harlem through the point of view of the narrator who is Sonny’s younger brother. Unlike the majority of the men in his community the narrator seems to have a good life. He has a wife, two children, and has a job as a teacher. Sonny is the younger brother of the narrator, he is a misunderstood man who has an addiction to heroin. Sonny does not like to express his emotions; the only way Sonny feels comfortable to express himself is through the form of music. He believes that doing music will keep him out of prison and away from drugs.
The story is written in past tense, for the most part it seems to be active because the narrator is doing a lot of interacting. Throughout the reading the theme of darkness keeps reoccurring, this is shown in the beginning of the story as the narrator rides the subway “I stared at it in the swinging lights of the subway car, and in the faces and bodies of the people, and in my own face, trapped in the darkness which roared outside.” (604). Another example of this is if you take note you will notice that the author uses light to describe Sonny when he was a child. In this instance light represents all the good qualities that Sonny possess and positivity. In contrast to light is the darkness being hinted at again, which represents all the negativity in Sonny’s life and all the problems he has in within himself. You can find the darkness in the story almost anywhere, living in Harlem and his addiction to heroin has caused him to be suffocated in darkness. Lastly I believe another on of themes had to pertain brotherly love. The brothers have had a up and down history, but due to the fact that the narrator promised his mother that he would watch out for his little brother that’s what brought them together again.